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Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills
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TOPIC: Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills

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#87343
Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills 2 Years, 12 Months ago  
ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2009) — Children exposed to a multi-year programme of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers, according to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music.

According to authors Joseph M Piro and Camilo Ortiz from Long Island University, USA, data from this study will help to clarify the role of music study on cognition and shed light on the question of the potential of music to enhance school performance in language and literacy.
Studying children the two US elementary schools, one of which routinely trained children in music and one that did not, Piro and Ortiz aimed to investigate the hypothesis that children who have received keyboard instruction as part of a music curriculum increasing in difficulty over successive years would demonstrate significantly better performance on measures of vocabulary and verbal sequencing than students who did not receive keyboard instruction.
Several studies have reported positive associations between music education and increased abilities in non-musical (eg, linguistic, mathematical, and spatial) domains in children. The authors say there are similarities in the way that individuals interpret music and language and “because neural response to music is a widely distributed system within the brain…. it would not be unreasonable to expect that some processing networks for music and language behaviors, namely reading, located in both hemispheres of the brain would overlap.”
The aim of this study was to look at two specific reading subskills – vocabulary and verbal sequencing – which, according to the authors, are “are cornerstone components in the continuum of literacy development and a window into the subsequent successful acquisition of proficient reading and language skills such as decoding and reading comprehension.”
Using a quasi-experimental design, the investigators selected second-grade children from two school sites located in the same geographic vicinity and with similar demographic characteristics, to ensure the two groups of children were as similar as possible apart from their music experience.
Children in the intervention school (n=46) studied piano formally for a period of three consecutive years as part of a comprehensive instructional intervention program. Children attending the control school (n=57) received no formal musical training on any musical instrument and had never taken music lessons as part of their general school curriculum or in private study. Both schools followed comprehensive balanced literacy programmes that integrate skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
All participants were individually tested to assess their reading skills at the start and close of a standard 10-month school year using the Structure of Intellect (SOI) measure.
Results analyzed at the end of the year showed that the music-learning group had significantly better vocabulary and verbal sequencing scores than did the non-music-learning control group. This finding, conclude the authors, provides evidence to support the increasingly common practice of “educators incorporating a variety of approaches, including music, in their teaching practice in continuing efforts to improve reading achievement in children”.
However, further interpretation of the results revealed some complexity within the overall outcomes. An interesting observation was that when the study began, the music-learning group had already experienced two years of piano lessons yet their reading scores were nearly identical to the control group at the start of the experiment.
So, ask the authors, “If the children receiving piano instruction already had two years of music involvement, why did they not significantly outscore the musically naïve students on both measures at the outset?” Addressing previous findings showing that music instruction has been demonstrated to exert cortical changes in certain cognitive areas such as spatial-temporal performance fairly quickly, Piro and Ortiz propose three factors to explain the lack of evidence of early benefit for music in the present study.
First, children were tested for their baseline reading skills at the beginning of the school year, after an extended holiday period. Perhaps the absence of any music instruction during a lengthy summer recess may have reversed any earlier temporary cortical reorganization experienced by students in the music group, a finding reported in other related research. Another explanation could be that the duration of music study required to improve reading and associated skills is fairly long, so the initial two years were not sufficient.
A third explanation involves the specific developmental time period during which children were receiving the tuition. During the course of their third year of music lessons, the music-learning group was in second grade and approaching the age of seven. There is evidence that there are significant spurts of brain growth and gray matter distribution around this developmental period and, coupled with the increased complexity of the study matter in this year, brain changes that promote reading skills may have been more likely to accrue at this time than in the earlier two years.
“All of this adds a compelling layer of meaning to the experimental outcomes, perhaps signaling that decisions on ‘when’ to teach are at least as important as ‘what’ to teach when probing differential neural pathways and investigating their associative cognitive substrates,” note the authors.
“Study of how music may also assist cognitive development will help education practitioners go beyond the sometimes hazy and ill-defined ‘music makes you smarter’ claims and provide careful and credible instructional approaches that use the rich and complex conceptual structure of music and its transfer to other cognitive areas,” they conclude.


www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/09...TouWaYtaTLw.facebook
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#87368
Re: Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills 2 Years, 12 Months ago  
Matt,

There is also research concerning mathematical skills of 'musically instructed' school children. Since music (like almost anything dependent upon which philosophy you follow) can be broken down mathematically, this makes some sense. I do know, having an Autistic Grand Child, that musical ability/training does cross over into other aspects concerning the ability to learn those things in a more efficient manner than those without any musical background. I've seen it on a personal level myself.

One of, if not the biggest, reason I picked the guitar back up was to expose my Grandchildren to the sound and sight of music and someone performing (or at best, trying to). Perhaps I could influence them towards it, I'll take that interest no matter how small it may be. And, as I found out, it's not just those kids, those four, or even the three that are currently staying with us. It goes out to all of their friends and neighbors. Boogie (nickname) actually has kids in the neighborhood that ask her to play, and several who can't afford lessons ask her to teach them how to play piano. *NOTE: Both of her parents are School Teachers, she's a 'tyrant' of a teacher!!

All of her cousins and her sister are interested in some sort of instrument, one of them is now, at 6 almost 7, beginning violin. They all (for some unknown reason) have a ukelele or a small guitar hanging around somewhere, a couple here, a couple there. There's a piano or keyboard in every house, two in ours. They do take a bit of time now and then to let me show them how to do things like hold down a string, strum, and so on. There are even times when their parents catch them actually trying to PLAY and not just PLAY - ah hell, you know what I mean!

It's a shame really, of what is happening in today's public schools. One of the first hit departments in a budget crisis is almost always the arts. So much of it is just simply ignorance on our own part, ignorant of the fact that Human Nature NEEDS to express itself. Given an outlet like music, we could proclaim that given this outlet (the Arts), that perhaps more violent and unbecoming, meaningless acting out would decrease!

It would be interesting to see if perhaps those kids (and adults) who need to act out would rather pick up a guitar, sit down at a piano, or even bang a drum, would do so more readily than act out in ways that don't benefit others. At the School District my kids teach at, the number and percentage of students who participate in Band, Choir, and other artistic means outweighs those who participate in athletics by a huge margin. Perhaps that's why there is so little violence on their campuses?
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#87380
Re: Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills 2 Years, 12 Months ago  
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#87554
Re: Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills 2 Years, 11 Months ago  
Lets try an experiment. Cut out all school sports for 1 year and require music instead.
See what kind of grades and social development we get.
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#87558
Re: Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills 2 Years, 11 Months ago  
That would be wonderfully counter productive Andy!

Just as music helps grow new neuronal connections giving the brain more flexibility and scope, so does physical movement and any learning of movement skills.
How much of the positive effect of learning music has to do with skill learning like finger dexterity on the keyboard or fretboard and being able to co-ordinate the separation of the hand movements? Probably a considerable amount. Learning to move the body especially in a co-ordinated way not only adds more neuronal connections and increases the scope of what the brain and body can do, the movement itself is a huge lifter of mood and supplier of feel-good hormones not to mention the building of strength, stamina, flexibility, balance etc. And not just for there and then. If kids between the ages of 5 - 10 skip or jump every day as part of a playing or physical training, they grow thicker bones and will suffer less from the effects of osteoporosis in later life. Not to mention the effects of getting more oxygen to the brain in helping in cognitive tasks. Many children learn better when they can move more and giving them regular sport and physical education is vitally important. I won't even mention the problems of obesity.

In short, kids need physical education regularly, and for me, music is also an indispensable part of growing a healthy child. Anything which moves us physically or emotionally is vital to our lives.

PS: physical education is second to none in building Self-confidence and self-esteem. I was singing as child but didn't become confident until I could do better in sports. The pay-off there is huge as you gain the respect of your peers when you can do well at a sport. I had Alessandra hitting balls with a racket before she was two. We'd play in the garden or in the house with balls all the time. AT 5 years old She was afraid of some older boys who lived nearby ... until we invited them to join in with our improvised tennis games in the garden. She won the respect of these guys instantly when they saw she could whack the ball better than they could... and she saw that and lost here fear.
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#87559
Re: Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills 2 Years, 11 Months ago  
neverfoundthetime wrote:
That would be wonderfully counter productive Andy!

Just as music helps grow new neuronal connections giving the brain more flexibility and scope, so does physical movement and any learning of movement skills.
How much of the positive effect of learning music has to do with skill learning like finger dexterity on the keyboard or fretboard and being able to co-ordinate the separation of the hand movements? Probably a considerable amount. Learning to move the body especially in a co-ordinated way not only adds more neuronal connections and increases the scope of what the brain and body can do, the movement itself is a huge lifter of mood and supplier of feel-good hormones not to mention the building of strength, stamina, flexibility, balance etc. And not just for there and then. If kids between the ages of 5 - 10 skip or jump every day as part of a playing or physical training, they grow thicker bones and will suffer less from the effects of osteoporosis in later life. Not to mention the effects of getting more oxygen to the brain in helping in cognitive tasks. Many children learn better when they can move more and giving them regular sport and physical education is vitally important. I won't even mention the problems of obesity.

In short, kids need physical education regularly, and for me, music is also an indispensable part of growing a healthy child. Anything which moves us physically or emotionally is vital to our lives.

PS: physical education is second to none in building Self-confidence and self-esteem. I was singing as child but didn't become confident until I could do better in sports. The pay-off there is huge as you gain the respect of your peers when you can do well at a sport. I had Alessandra hitting balls with a racket before she was two. We'd play in the garden or in the house with balls all the time. AT 5 years old She was afraid of some older boys who lived nearby ... until we invited them to join in with our improvised tennis games in the garden. She won the respect of these guys instantly when they saw she could whack the ball better than they could... and she saw that and lost here fear.



There must be sport and music lessons on the first school (don't know how you call it,(basic school?),,here in Holland music on school is very deleted but it is more that they don't have any teachers that would take care of it,,but i find it very important that it must start there and with much care,,it is so important for the rest of your life even if it was only singin..
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